Most of us are accustomed to seeing dried fruits, but in the Yamanomura area, dried daikon roots or “kanboshi-daikon” are made every winter as non-perishable food items to support the food stock until the next harvest season around June. “Kan” means cold, “boshi” means dried, so “Kanboshi-daikon” means freeze dried daikon.
No one remembers when this practice started, but the locals say this practice has been going on for at least a few hundred years.
In the past, the daikon roots were stored in a hole measuring over 1 meter in diameter and 30 cm deep. Straw was laid in the hole and 30 to 50 daikons were laid on top of the straw. Another layer of straw was laid on top to cover the daikon, and a layer of dirt was put on top to keep the daikon from freezing over. Then, before the first snow came, the daikon roots were moved indoors and some were converted into “kanboshi-daikon”.
To make a “kanboshi-daikon” the daikon was first cut into pieces 1.5cm thick, boiled, and dried outside in the sun during the cold winter months. One can still see the “kanboshi-daikon” being dried in the winter months in Yamanomura.
Locals use the “kanboshi-daikon” in miso soup and “nimono”, or vegetables and meat simmered in soy-sauce based broth. According to the locals, freeze dried daikon has a tendency to soak up the broth well, and when local delicacies such are wild boar and bear meat area available, it makes the dish especially tasty.